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Clare campaigner Noeleen Moran speaking during a Mid-West March For Proper Healthcare in Limerick in 2020. Photograph by John Kelly

Protests in Clare and Limerick over poor state of health services

PROTESTS are being planned to highlight the state of local health services, particularly the situation at the region’s main hospital where the number being treated on trolleys frequently exceeds 100 people daily.

The Mid-West Hospital campaign is organising a day of action starting at the former Debenhams store in Limerick this Saturday at 1pm.

The following Saturday, May 21, at 2pm there will be a protest at the Square in Ennis.

A former election candidate for Sinn Féin, Noeleen Moran said the Mid-West Hospital campaign is not aligned with any party, and wants to get support from across the community.

“It goes back to 2019, we had the first public meeting in the Old Ground. There’s a mixture of people from all political parties and none, and trade unions are supporting it too.

“It started because of the level of overcrowding in University Hospital Limerick, there was a need to do something.

“Marie McMahon was one of the founding members, her husband passed away on a trolley in Limerick. As a result of her experience other families came forward as well and there was a feeling that there was a necessity to do something about it.”

Ms Moran said that the numbers on trolleys at UHL this year have been getting progressively worse, with no fall off in the spring.

“Normally you’d have a peak in January or February, and then it’d dip and it’d be as bad again next winter.

“This year, month on month the Trolley Watch figures have increased from January to February to March to April. We have 98 on trolleys today.”

On one day in April 126 people were on trolleys, an unwanted record for any Irish hospital, and she said that it is a terrible situation, that could yet get worse.

“Whatever has gone wrong, it is not getting any better. There are far too many people presenting and there’s no alternative with the cutbacks in ShannonDoc, there’s no alternative but to attend. This year it’s increasing month on month and that’s the worry, if we don’t get something done now where will we be next winter?”

She says that the protests will give a chance for people to express their views.

“There was a sense that something needed to be done. We’re going to give people the opportunity to come out and support it if they wish and we’re hoping for a good turnout.”

Ms Moran said that there are plans to try and put some political pressure on, in the coming weeks.

“The Regional Health Forum meeting is coming up on the 24th. We will have a motion going through Councillor Liam Grant (the Green party representative from North Clare) on our behalf in Clare.

Councillor Seamie Morris (Independent) in Tipperary will be putting it forward on behalf of the Nenagh campaign.

“The motion basically acknowledges that the strategy for Limerick is not working and that more needs to be done to resolve the situation.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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